By Josephine Wawira
Fitness Centers have become the new ‘gold’ in the hospitality industry, with a recently published Hospitality Report Nigeria by Jumia Travel showing the Gym as one of the most sought after amenities by customers booking a hotel stay. The growing trend from home based fitness programs to local fitness memberships, now includes the need for travelers to keep fit even when on their trips, be it leisure or business. In this regard, most hotels have adopted to the trend and incorporated gym/fitness facilities in their properties, while those with existing ones have gone a notch higher to renovate in a bid to create a better impression.
As the head of Customer Service for Jumia Travel Nigeria Omolara Adagunodo ascertains, “the percentage of our customers often enquiring the inclusion of a gym or fitness facility is overwhelmingly high. Some are concerned about keeping up with their workout routine while on the road, while others are purely on a wellness trip and therefore have a fitness facility as a priority. We have but to refer and recommend only hotels that have the capacity to meet their needs.”
Therefore, whether running a luxury hotel or a budget lodge, it is no doubt a fact that not having an onsite fitness facility is a big time untapped revenue stream. In a 2016 survey conducted by MMGY Global, a travel and hospitality firm, a premium fitness center with options for on- or off-site exercise classes was a major influencer for almost 50% of millennials when choosing a hotel. A group of travelers aggressively disrupting the hospitality sector, the millennial, unlike their Generation X counterparts, are often putting hotel owners on toes, requiring them to flexibly meet them at their point of need. Good news is, they are willing to part with the extra dollar, for the extra attention and satisfaction.
However, it is important to also note that a high number of guests are yet to integrate wellness into their travel plans, and may require a little push to get them to workout. Therefore, going a step further to include fitness zones in the hotel rooms, and simple workout gears may just compel them to get on the mats, which is a win-win solution for both the hotel and the guests.